August 18, 2016: Colin Powell allegedly recommended to Clinton that she should use a private email for non-classified communications.

The New York Times reports that Clinton mentioned this when she was interviewed by the FBI in July 2016. This account was included in the FBI’s notes about Clinton’s interview which was given to Congress on August 16, 2016. The content of notes are meant to be classified, but apparently someone in Congress leaked this account to the media.

In addition, the account is mentioned in an upcoming book about Bill Clinton written by journalist Joe Conason, who the Times calls “a longtime defender of the Clintons.”

According to Conason, the conversation took place in early 2009, several months after Clinton became secretary of state, and after she had already set up a private email server and was using a private email account for all her email communications. Clinton was at a dinner party hosted by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, which was also attended by former secretaries of state Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, and Condoleezza Rice.

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Former Secretaries of State (from left to right), Henry Kissinger James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry attend a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on September 3, 2014. (Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Conason writes, “Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat [Clinton]. Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer. Saying that his use of personal email had been transformative for the department, he thus confirmed a decision she had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”

Additionally, Powell repeated the same advice in an email sent to Clinton around the same time, and after Clinton had already decided to use private email. Powell tells the Times that he has no recollection of the dinner conversation, but he does confirm sending an email giving that advice.

However, the Times notes that the situations between when Powell was secretary of state and when Clinton was had significant differences. When Powell took over the State Department, it did not have a computer system for sending unclassified emails. But such a system was set up by the time Clinton took over in 2009. Additionally, the department rules changed, prohibiting the use of a private email account as anyone’s main mode of email communication. Furthermore, Powell used the AOL (AmericaOnline) email service, which kept back-up copies of all emails, while Clinton used her own private server, which meant nobody kept backups except her. (The New York Times, 8/18/2016) (NBC News, 8/19/2016)

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation announces what changes it will make if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Former President Bill Clinton tells foundation staff what changes the foundation will make to deal with conflict of interest concerns if Hillary is elected president in November 2016:

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Bill Clinton (Credit: Darren McCollester / Getty Images)

  • The foundation will stop accepting donations from any foreign entity or from any corporations or corporate charities. Only US citizens and independent charities will be able to donate.
  • Bill Clinton will resign from the foundation’s board.
  • He will not give any paid speeches until the November 2016 election, and then will not give any paid speeches if Hillary wins the election.
  • He also will stop personally soliciting donations for the foundation.
  • This year’s annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting will be the last one.

All of these changes will occur only if Clinton wins the presidential election, except for the CGI meetings, which will stop even if she loses.

Republicans criticize the changes as insufficient. Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus says the changes are “too little, too late.” He says the foundation “should immediately cease accepting foreign donations and return every penny ever taken from other countries, several of which have atrocious human rights records and ties to terrorism.” He also says the foundation continuing to accept foreign donations during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is a “massive, ongoing conflict of interest that gets bigger by the day.” (The Associated Press, 8/22/2016) (The Los Angeles Times, 8/22/2016)

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation’s computer network may have been recently hacked.

Reuters reports that the foundation has recently hired the cybersecurity company FireEye to investigte and combat hacking after seeing indications of possible hacking. This is according to two unnamed “sources familiar with the matter.”

No stolen emails or documents from the foundation have been made public so far. However, one of the sources plus two unnamed US security officials say that hackers appear to have used “spear phishing” techniques to gain access to the foundation’s network, in the same way they’ve hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political targets. (Reuters, 8/18/2016)

August 18, 2016: The Clinton Foundation claims its computers have not been hacked.

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Logo of FireEye (Credit: public domain)

Earlier in the day, Reuters reported from several sources that it is likely the Clinton Foundation’s computer network has been recently hacked. But the foundation says, “We have no evidence Clinton Foundation systems were breached and have not been notified by law enforcement of an issue.”

Reuters also reported the foundation recently hired the cybersecurity company FireEye to combat hacking. The foundation has not responded to this. (Politico, 8/18/2016)